June 15, 2012

Memories that stay with you

You know how some memories are burned into your mind, seemingly for no particular reason? I find this so odd. For instance, I remember a snowy day when I was about 16. I think of that day often, though there's nothing unusual about the memory. Still, it's always with me -- how the day felt, the wetness of the snowfall, and how things sounded. It's exciting, this memory, though I don't know why. It's imbued with significance -- seemingly for no reason.

This also applies to things people say. For some reason, I remember remarks that people made decades ago. And it's not that what they said was so striking or perceptive; some are downright boring remarks. But they stayed with me and I think of them often. There seems to be no rhyme or reason governing what remains in our minds, and what passes through, virtually unnoticed.

(Don't get me wrong. Some of the memories that stay with us forever are important. But it seems our brains store all sorts of things, including stuff that is meaningless.) 

Of course, I'm going to bring this around to writing. The odd thing is that these memories -- both significant and insignificant -- are finding a home in the novels I write. I'm not aware that I'm doing this as I write a scene. But later when I read it, I'll realize that I've recreated one of these fortified memories in the book. The look of a room, the feeling caused by an offhand remark, an odd phrasing someone once used -- all these memories that stuck with me throughout my life are being released, one by one, into my novels. It's quite nice, actually. They finally found a good home.

Do you have strong memories of an event or a day that didn't seem to matter much when it happened, but nonetheless stayed with you all these years? It's such a quirky thing.


Artichoke Annie said...

Yes, some I's rather not remember yet as vivid as the day it occurred. I guess that is my punishment.

Jack Havock said...

I'm working on a surrealist film at the moment that deals largely with this subject. I'm trying to find unimportant but striking memories that people have. What are some more examples of yours?

writenow said...

I'm trying to get my novel out at the moment. I'm in the final-final-final stretch so it's not good timing for a question. Try me in a month, if you're still canvassing. Good luck.